Striking the Balance Between Airline Prices and Service

Yesterday I took a look at the Alaskan Airlines and Virgin America merger. Part of the disappointment on the internets centres around the service and experience delivered by Virgin. I mean who doesn’t like mood lighting, right? Well the Economist took a look at international airlines by both price and service. And if we use Virgin Atlantic as the best proxy for Virgin America, you can see why people prefer it over American carriers.

Price vs. service
Price vs. service

Credit for the piece goes to James Tozer.

Merging Alaska Airlines and Virgin America

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America made some news the past few days when they announced Alaska would purchase Virgin America for $2.6 billion. I mapped out the flight routes of the two carriers to see where they overlapped. You can see the results in my piece for the blog today below.

A brief look at the merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America
A brief look at the merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America

Credit for the work is mine, except the underlying map, which I sourced from Brigham Young University Geography Department.

Fighting Off My Jet Lag

As I mentioned earlier this week, I visited London for work for a week and then took some rollover holiday time to stay around London and then visit Dublin. But now I am back. And this week that has meant all the jet lag. And while everybody experiences jet lag and recovers from it differently, I wanted to take a look at my experience. The data and such is below. But the basic point, it is about four days before I return to normal.

What is missing, unfortunately, is the Chicago-to-London data. Because anecdotally, that was far, far worse than the return flight.

My sleeping periods are in purple
My sleeping periods are in purple

Credit is my own.

Uber vs. Taxi (in New York)

I just spent the weekend back in my hometown of Philadelphia and while we walked most places, there were a few Uber rides. As someone who doesn’t use the app and normally will hail a taxi when necessary, I had been looking forward to posting this piece. FiveThirtyEight looked at data for New York comparing Uber to taxis.

Share in New York
Share in New York

Credit for the piece goes to Reuben Fischer-Baum.

Night Tube

Transport for London (TfL), the organisation that runs the London Underground or Tube, has announced a nighttime service called Night Tube. It is not for the entire system, but only a few specific lines. That means that TfL needed a new map. And that means that everyone will want to create their own version of the Night Tube map. So this article at City Metric looks at just that. The TfL version is shown below.

The official TfL map
The official TfL map

Credit for the original goes to Transport for London.

The Curviest Tracks on the Northeast Corridor

If you remember a little while back, Amtrak No. 188 derailed in North Philadelphia at Frankford Junction. I covered it here and here. Well, the New York Times has analysed the Northeast Corridor to identify the curviest segments of track, excluding entrances and exits from stations. Perhaps as no surprise, Frankford Junction is right among the top segments.

Tracks north of Centre City Philadelphia
Tracks north of Centre City Philadelphia

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.

Aircraft Cabin Flow

Today’s post looks at an illustration from the BBC about aircraft cabin flow. As I have flown on four aircraft in the last month—quite a lot for me—I do recall thinking during one particular flight just where the air intakes were on the aircraft. It never dawned on me that they were in the actual engines themselves.

Air flow diagram for an aircraft
Air flow diagram for an aircraft

I think from a design side the only thing I would change is the width of the line for the airflow. That would show how while some is released, replacement air comes from the air mixing unit.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Illustrating a Table

Let’s face it, lots of people think tables are boring. They convey data very quickly and very efficiently. But they often don’t look “pretty” enough. So, today, I just wanted to show a table from the Washington Post from last week.

A table on green car options. It has green illustrations. Get it?
A table on green car options. It has green illustrations. Get it?

It does nothing fancy. Nor do the illustrations actually communicate the information more quickly or more clearly. But, look! Green clocks and charging stations!

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post’s graphics department.

Others’ Coverage of Amtrak 188

Tuesday I posted my late-night work on Amtrak No. 188’s derailment, (now with a few minor updates, including the speed information released this afternoon) so you could all get a sense of what happened yesterday. Of course, in the last 24 hours, we have seen a lot of news outlets covering the story.

The New York Times has a nice piece mapping out the details of the accident. Of particular interest, they included a map showing the parts of the Northeast Corridor equipped with positive train control. That is a system designed to prevent trains from exceeding their speed limits.

Positive train control implemented on the Northeast Corridor
Positive train control implemented on the Northeast Corridor

The Washington Post has two nice pieces. The first, below, incorporates both illustration to simplify the wreck site for the audience and then photographs to provide context of just how destroyed some of the train cars are, the first in particular.

Using both illustrations and photographs
Using both illustrations and photographs

The Post, however, also has a supplemental piece that looks at Amtrak’s accidents over the last ten years. This is the most data-centric piece of all that we are looking at, but that is okay. Most of the story is not reliant on data, but rather illustrations and diagrams trying to piece everything together.

Comparison of derailments vs. vehicle collisions
Comparison of derailments vs. vehicle collisions

Lastly, the BBC has an article with several small graphics looking at US train risks. Spoiler, American trains, while safe, are far less safe than those in Europe and Asia. Here, though, the map looks at accidents along the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak accidents
Amtrak accidents

Credit for the New York Times piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Larry Buchanan, Bill Marsh, Haeyoun Park, Sergio Peçanha, Julie Shaver, Joe Ward, and Karen Yourish.

Credit for the Washington Post piece on the derailment goes to Bonnie Berkowitz, Patterson Clark, Alberto Cuadra, Todd Lindeman, Denise Lu, Katie Park, and Gene Thorp.

Credit for the Washington Post piece on Amtrak accidents goes to Dan Keating and Lazaro Gamio.

Amtrak Train No. 188 Derails

I am a big fan of trains, rail transit, and Amtrak. I think the rail network connecting the East Coast’s big cities from Boston down to Washington is one of the big draws of the Northeast. Not surprisingly, I have taken that route I don’t know how many times. So, when Amtrak’s Northeast Regional No. 188 derailed in Philadelphia, it ran off rails with which I am familiar.

I made a graphic tonight—so much for all my other plans—charting and mapping out what was announced by Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter. I am sure that by the time I wake up in the morning, we will know more and some things will have changed. But, let this be a simple guide to the basics as they were Tuesday night.

Updated graphic
Updated graphic

Frankford Junction is in the Port Richmond area of Philly. And what I can attest is that trains do slow down here, because it is a fairly sharp turn at a fairly flat grade (I think).

Credit for the screenshot map image goes to Google.